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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16 (2a)
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4:26-34
June 13, 2021

We returned to Ordinary Time right after Pentecost.  However, for the last two Sundays we celebrated two Solemnities, The Most Holy Trinity and the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

So, today is our first Sunday with Green vestments.  As we celebrate this Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time and we resume reading Mark’s Gospel in order.

We call it “Ordinary Time” but we still celebrate the extraordinary things God does for us.  What God offers us is the Kingdom of God.  Today, Jesus speaks to us in parables about the Kingdom.

In the first parable, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is like a man who scatters seed on the land and then waits for it to grow without knowing how it grows.  He just knows it does.

God has set a natural order to this world.  Seed is planted.  Then comes the blade, followed by the ear, and finally the grain.  In Jesus’ days, humans did not know the science of how growth occurs.  Today we do.  However, that does not remove God from the picture.  Science just helps us understand the order God has created.

So, it is with the Kingdom of God.  We know of the Kingdom through what God has revealed to us.  However, we may not fully understand it.  Faith involves mystery.  We don’t fully understand the Trinity but we believe in it.  We don’t know how the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus but we believe because Jesus says so.

Does this mean we just sit idly by and wait for God to do his thing?

If a farmer wants the best harvest, do they sit idly by?  Do they not fertilize the ground?  In dry areas do they not irrigate the fields with water?

Of course, it is God’s grace that makes the Kingdom of God grow.  We need to open ourselves to his grace.  This means availing ourselves of the Sacraments on a regular basis.  Coming to God is not something we should do just when times are tough.  We need to come each Sunday to open ourselves to God’s grace.  When we sin, we need to avail ourselves of the grace offered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  God provides the grace for growth but we need to be open to it.

We also need to do our part to share the good news of what God offers us with others.  I believe there are many people out there looking for God.  However, they do not know it is God they seek.  They know something is missing.  They know they do not feel fulfilled.  We need to speak of what God offers to help build up the Kingdom.

Parents (and grandparents) are to share the faith with their children.  We can do the same to friends and others we met.  Here, I point to the imagery in the first reading.  The Lord says He will “tear off a tender shoot and plant it on a high and lofty mountain.”  God wants to spread the faith.  As He strengths the faith within us, He wants us to bear fruit in the good works we do and in sharing the faith with others.

The faith is meant for all (for “birds of every kind”).  We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in sharing it, now more than ever.

Why now?  Because the Coronavirus has depleted our numbers at Mass.  When I say “numbers”, we are talking about people, souls that belong to Christ.  Many people have not returned to Mass.  Will they ever?

What are we to do?

The ministry of reaching out to others has not changed.  Well before there was a Coronavirus, fewer and fewer people were coming to church.  We should have been doing more to reach to them then.  Now, following the effects of the pandemic on who comes to church it just makes it all the more needed.

What are we to do?

It is what recent popes call the “new evangelization.” 

When you hear the word “evangelization” what do you think of?  Do you think of someone standing on a street corner with a sign with Bible verses on it or somebody knocking on your door?

That can be evangelization.  However, properly understand evangelization is sharing faith.  We are all called to share our faith according to our life opportunities.  Parents with children.  Friends with each other. 

Sometimes it begins with something as simple as wearing a piece of jewelry that is an image of our faith.  When I take my walk wearing my collar, sometimes that is enough to get a stranger to start a conversation with me.

God plants a seed of faith within each of us.  May it grow to its fullness.

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